Three Reasons Writers Need A Business Plan

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
Benjamin Franklin

According to an article from September 2013 on Forbes.com 80% of all small business fail within their first 18 months. The article lists 5 common reasons business fail. At the end of the day 4 out of 5 of those reasons comes down to just one thing, planning. Here are three reason you should sit down today and write out your writing business plan.

A plan forces you to set goals. Whether you are planning on selling your writing, or just doing it for the fun of it. What isn't fun is having a half dozen unfinished projects laying around. This rapidly leads to the demoralized writer. Sure it's great to have a business plan if your planning on selling your work, but if you aren't then you might be skipping over this article. But that's just plain wrong. My fiction writing is by and large a hobby. I'm happier when I don't have to worry if that plot twist is just a tad (or a lot) to fantastical to sell. But having a completed work in my cloud storage, that makes me happy. If I hadn't gone to business school, I would never have sat down and written out my personal business plan. But having learned how the process of the business plan works, I knew this was the kind of thing I needed to do if I wanted to keep on writing and have anything finished, you know, ever.

A plan forces you to assess what you need to get the job done. Before I made up my mind that I would write mostly as a hobby, I really wanted to be a published author. I knew the odds were long and hard. But I have spent years studying writing, story structure and editing. All of these things were the tools I needed to be a good writer.

A plan forces you to look at the viability of your vision, and set of benchmarks to measure growth against. In short every business, like every book, is an expression of a theory of the world. Businesses fail when theory behind business doesn't match up with reality. Whether the vision is poor, or the execution is poor, or the owner's understanding the way the world works is poor doesn't matter. If any of these thing is off the business will fail and people, good people, will be out of work. A business is huge responsibility to have. And so is your writing. Sure you may be doing it to blow off some steam, but there are opportunity costs of writing. If you don't have a plan, a few completed stories, and the satisfaction of a job well done, then is the time you spent writing worth what you've given up? Sure these goals are emotional, as opposed to financial. But let's look at it this way...could you convince your parent, spouse, kids etc to sacrifice some of the family money for you to acquire a new skill? Or would the money you are spending now be better spent elsewhere? What about the time? Who are you ignoring? Would the time you spend writing be better spent playing with your young child? Having one last dinner with grandma? Showing your better half just how much better you life is with them?

Write your plan. It doesn't have to be long. One short page will do. If it helps make it in the form of a pledge. Now put it on the shelf to be taken out at the end of a year and see, did you stick to it? And how do you feel about your writing? Do you feel better? Did you pick up a new skill? Or did you fall off the wagon, but your kids are happy and you have many, good, new memories? A plan my friends will help you figure that out.

Love,
Melanie


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